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Military divorce and the non-military member spouse

Alabama residents who are preparing to go through the divorce process may feel overwhelmed by it. This is particularly true for those going through a military divorce. While the overall process is the same as the civilian dissolution process, there are special concerns that affect non-military member spouses.

Military members and their families have access to certain benefits. The non-military member spouse will want to know if he or she will get to hold onto those benefits post divorce. The answer is: maybe.

The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act does allow former spouses of service members to keep certain benefits -- if they meet all the eligibility requirements. What is the main requirement? Time.

How long a couple was married and how long the military member has been in the service matters when it comes to keeping benefits after divorce. For example, retirement pay. In order for a non-military spouse to collect retirement pay, he or she must have been married to the military member for at least 10 years, and the service member must have completed 10 years in the armed forces.

When it comes to health insurance, exchange and commissary benefits, there is a 20/20/20 rule. The marriage must have lasted for 20 years; the military member must have served for 20 years; and the marriage and military service must overlap over 20 years. It can all be a bit confusing, but for an attorney who has experience handling military divorce, figuring out what a non-military spouse is eligible to receive is not too difficult. With the right help, it is possible for Alabama residents to walk away from their military spouses with fair and balanced settlements.

Source: military.com, "Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act", Accessed on May 8, 2018

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